By MATT THACKER
A 47-year-old man was arrested early Friday morning for allegedly making an improvised explosive device with a half-pound of black powder and leaving it on the Southern Indiana Railway tracks in Sellersburg.
Louis Deinnocentes, who recently moved from New York and lives in a mobile home in the 1900 block of Roosevelt Drive in Sellersburg, has been charged with manufacturing and possession of explosives.
The bomb was discovered by a man and his 16-year-old daughter as they walked along the train tracks near Bean Road, hunting for snakes at about 6:45 p.m. Thursday. Clark County Sheriff’s Department Maj. Chuck Adams said the girl picked up the bomb and carried it about 200 feet before the father told her to put it down because it could possibly explode.
A bomb squad from Indiana State Police used a water cannon to detonate the bomb, described as a 10-inch by 2-inch jar wrapped in duct tape with a fuse at one end.
“He tried to ignite it himself, and when it didn’t explode, he just left if there,” Adams said.
He reportedly said he left because he thought the bomb was more dangerous once it did not go off.
Police believe Deinnocentes was being “stupid” rather than trying to injure anyone. There is no evidence he was working with anyone else, and his criminal history includes only drug and alcohol charges.
“We’re hoping it’s not any kind of malicious act on his part, but we’re going to continue the investigation,” Adams said.
The railroad tracks are in use, although police are not sure how many trains pass through there. It was described as a “remote area” just a couple of miles from where Deinnocentes lives.
Adams said police found Deinnocentes while following up on tips received from the public. He said Deinnocentes cooperated with police and provided consent to search. When police searched the residence, they found a 5-pound container of black powder and materials to make several pipe bombs. They also found a small amount of marijuana.
Deinnocentes reportedly told police he was trying to get rid of his father’s old smokeless black powder, mostly used for muzzle-loading rifles, Adams said.
However, police say the man’s story does not completely add up. A search of his home revealed he apparently obtained more black powder recently. He said he has made several smaller devices, but never intended to harm anyone.
With the exception of the black powder, most of the materials are easily purchased at any store. However, detectives say Deinnocentes did display some more advanced understanding of bomb-making in how he constructed the device.
“It’s obvious he’s an amateur, but he’s right on the edge of something more sophisticated,” Detective Harold Kramer said. “We’re glad we caught him when we did.”
He said an explosion from that amount of black powder could have knocked a train off the tracks and would have been fatal to anyone nearby.
The area was closed to vehicles, pedestrians and trains for about three hours, Adams said.
Police are not searching more deeply into Deinnocentes’ background beyond his criminal history. Homeland Security notified police that it was the only IED found in the United States on Thursday, and he does not appear at this point to be connected to any terrorist groups.
Deinnocentes is being held on $7,500 bond. Manufacturing explosives is a class C felony with a possible sentence of two to eight years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.